1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Observation

  • Paul was called by God to be an apostle.
  • Paul was an apostle of Christ.
  • Sosthenes was also involved in writing the letter.
  • The letter was written to the church in Corinth.
  • The letter was written to those sanctified in Christ.
  • The letter was written to those who are called to be saints.
  • The letter was written to everyone everywhere who calls on Jesus.
  • Christ is the Lord of everyone who calls on Him.
  • Christ is Paul’s Lord
  • Paul requested the letter’s recipients receive grace and peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ.
  • Paul thanked God because of the Corinthians Christian.
  • Paul thanked God for the Corinthians because they received God’s grace.
  • The Corinthians received God’s grace in Christ Jesus.
  • The Corinthians were enriched in speech and knowledge through Christ Jesus.
  • The testimony of Christ was confirmed in the Corinthians.
  • The Corinthians were not lacking in any gift.
  • The Corinthians were waiting Jesus Christ to be revealed.
  • Jesus Christ will sustain the Corinthians to the end.
  • The Corinthians will be guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • God is faithful.
  • The Corinthians were called into the fellowship of God’s son Jesus Christ out Lord.

Interpretation

Right at the outset Paul establishes his authority. This is common in Pauline letters. Paul is Christ’s Apostle. That means he is God’s messenger. Paul also indicates affection to the letter’s addressees.

We may think it odd that Paul addresses the Church at Corinth so kindly and as the Church of God. This is a church that was infested with so many arguments and fights that you might say Satan reigned there rather than God.

We should remember that Paul writes under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, this is not flattery. Even when there is so much evil that the church appears to no longer exist, God says He has many people in the place (Acts 18:9-10). Even though much evil had crept into the church at Corinth, both in doctrine and deeds many remnants of a true Church remained. We may want the church to be blemish free but that will not happen in this world. The church is made up of sinners. Therefore, we should be careful to not require or expect a sinnerless church.

Well what is the measure of a true church? When should we call a church apostate? A church is where the gospel is preached, the sacraments administered and the members are corrected and disciplined.

Paul gives thanks for the Corinthians in a manner that does not puff them up with pride. In his thanksgiving, Paul reminds them, all they receive, all they are, all they have are gifts from God. They have been given grace from God. In fact, God called them. God chose them. They did not choose God. They were not lacking any gift. They had it all. And it was all from God.

An Application

Let us remember that within ourselves we are sinners. Our righteousness is a foreign righteousness. It is imputed to us. It is a gift given to us. We should not be surprised when a church is wrong or does wrong. We are all sinners. The church is made up of sinners.

Let us thank God and recognize all we have comes from God. Some have used the analogy that salvation is a gift of God. God gave us a gift but we have to accept it. The gift is not ours until we accept it. I believe the analogy is poor. The God has given us a gift and we receive it as the ground receives the rain. The ground does not choose the rain God gives it. Our salvation is from the Lord and only the Lord.

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